That's what they call synergy

Even though no real connection has come out yet, it's kind of hard to believe that David Brooks doesn't have some kind of hookup to the vast oppo research army now moving into place to whittle away at John Kerry in the long months until August. Brooks' column yesterday was some nonsensical crap about monkeys and rich politicians--basically a shell by which to list the extent of Kerry and his wife's fortune. Brooks pays two lines of lip service to the fact that Bush isn't doing so badly for himself either, and then spends the rest of his 750 words on Kerry's houses, his Boston Brahmin accent, etc.

The point of course, is not whether Bush or Kerry has more money, or access, or quid pro quo...that would get pretty silly pretty quickly since both men are probably in the top .00001 percent on the income distribution. Rather, it is a question of style, i.e.: Kerry has a lot of big houses in snooty places, Bush has a big house in a Texas backwater; Kerry has a snooty wife who's an 'heiress' (who thanks you for cutting the estate tax, BTW), Bush has a wife who's a really dull 'librarian'; Kerry went to boarding school in Switzerland, Bush has never even been to Switzerland.

This 'patrician' school of attacks on Kerry may turn out to be the most damaging in the long run. Bush has to be careful about calling him a flip-flopper, or unpatriotic, or funded by the special interests, as these charges will invariably put Bush vulnerabilities in the news, too. But 'style' criticisms like the patrician charge are pretty safe, considering how hard Bush has worked to solidify his regular guy millionaire image. You can bet he'll be damned if he lets Kerry play the same trick.

And now today, Josh Marshall posts about a new ad being run by a group called Citizens United, apparently staffed by a bunch of ex-Clinton hitmen that uses an uncannily similar script to Brooks' column. You'd think Brooks could work just a little harder to downplay the similarities between his columns and the GOP '04 playbook.


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